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White-tailed deer harvest steady, rut starts

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News from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

NORTHWEST MONTANA — Whitetailed deer harvest remained steady and similar to last year this weekend in northwest Montana, according to check station results around Region One.

At the six northwest Montana check stations through Sunday, Nov. 13, a total of 10,977 hunters checked 785 white-tailed deer (497 of these were bucks), 113 mule deer, and 60 elk for an 8.7 percent rate of hunters with game. Overall, harvest was up somewhat as compared to last year when 6.9 percent of hunters checked game. Hunter numbers are down about 8 percent as compared to last year.

According to FWP Region One Supervisor Neil Anderson, the warm weather this weekend made hunting a challenge, but hunters in general were reporting seeing good numbers of deer.

“The rut has started,” Anderson said. “Hunters reported seeing bucks chasing does, and as a result we did see some mature bucks come through the check stations. With the rut in full swing and cold weather and possibly snow coming this week, the upcoming weekend should be a good one.”

The counts at the six northwest Montana check stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken.

Hunters are reminded that it is buck-only for whitetails in northwest Montana. Antlerless whitetails remain legal game for properly licensed youth 10-15 years of age, and hunters permitted to hunt from a vehicle. Mule deer are buck-only for the entire season. Elk are brow-tine bull only. Spike bull elk are not legal game for any hunter in Region One. Hunters should refer to the hunting regulations for the hunting district they plan to hunt.

Hunters have taken 26 wolves in Region One to date, compared to 20 wolves taken at the same time last year. Statewide, hunters have taken 81 wolves (as compared to 71 last year). This is a complete count of the number of wolves reported taken as of Nov. 14.

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